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Monthly Archives July 2015

Teens Using Drugs To Selling Drugs

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 05, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

TeenBuyingDrugsMany parents will say…. “Not my teen.

However sadly even with the best of kids today, it happens.

Parents fear their teens using drugs –  some parents even make excuses – “it’s just pot, I did it when I was a teen,” please understand – this is not the marijuana you did when you were a teen – in most cases marijuana can be laced with other substances (such as heroin) that can be addictive or even deadly.

When a teen gets desperate, it can call for desperate measures and that could potentially mean selling drugs.

Teens will turn to dealing for one of two reasons.  To either support their habit or to make money.  Either way, it benefits their drug use.

Parents should wake up and realize they have to intervene before this escalates to major drug trafficking and your child is not just arrested for possession but now is dealing with drug trafficking, selling to minors – and maybe more serious charges.  Especially if your teen is nearing 18 years old, he/she could be charged as an adult.

Don’t be in denial.  Don’t blame the other kids.  This is your teen making the choices – and of course, the drugs causing negative behavior.

ParentTeenAnger_2Ten tips help prevent substance abuse:

 1. Communication is the key to prevention. Whenever an opportunity to talk about the risks of drinking and driving or the dangers of using drugs presents itself, take it and start a conversation.

2. Have a conversation not a confrontation. If you suspect your teen is using drugs, talk to her. Don’t judge her; instead, talk to her about facts behind the dangers of substance abuse. If your teen isn’t opening up to you, be sure you find an adolescent therapist who can help.

3. Addict in the family. Do you have an addict in your family? Sadly many families have been affected by someone who has allowed drugs to take over his or her life. With this, it is a reminder to your teen that you want him to have a bright future filled with happiness. The last thing you want for them is to end up like [name of addicted relative].

4. Don’t be a parent in denial. There is no teenager who is immune to drug abuse. No matter how smart your teen is, or athletic she is, she’s at risk if she starts using. I firmly believe that keeping your teen constructively busy, whether through sports, music or other hobbies, will put her at less risk to want to experiment. However don’t be in the dark thinking that because your teen is pulling a 4.0 GPA and is on the varsity football team that he couldn’t be dragged down by peer pressure. Go back to my number one tip—talk, talk, talk. Remind your teen how proud you are of him, and let him know that you’re always available if he’s being pressured to do or try something he don’t want to.

5. Do you even know what your teen is saying? Listen, or watch on text messages or emails, for code words for medicaiton being abused or specific drug activity: skittling; tussing; skittles; robo-tripping; red devils; velvet; triple C; C-C-C-; and robotard are just some of the names kids use for cough and cold medication abuse. Weed; pot; ganja; mary jane; grass; chronic; buds; blunt; hootch; jive stick; ace; spliff; skunk; smoke; dubie; flower; and zig zag are all slang for marijuana.

OTCmeds6. Leftovers. Are there empty medicine bottles or wrappers in your teen’s room or car (if they own one)? Does she have burn marks on her clothes or her bedroom rug, and ashes or a general stench in her room or car? Be sure to check all pockets, garbage cans, cars, closets, and under beds, etc., for empty wrappers and other evidence of drug use. Where do you keep your prescription drugs?  Have you counted them lately? Teens and tweens often ingest several pills at once or smash them so that all of the drug’s affect is released at once.

7. Body language. Tune into changes in your teen’s behavior. Are his peer groups changing? Is he altering his physical appearance or suddenly lack hygiene? Are his eating and/or sleeping patterns changing? Does he display a hostile, uncooperative, or defiant attitude, and is he sneaking out of the house? Are you missing money or other valuables from your home?

8. Access to alcohol. Look around your home—are alcoholic beverages (liquor, beer, or wine) easily accessible? Teens typically admit that getting alcohol is easy, and that the easiest place to get it is in their own homes. Be aware of what you have in the house and if you suspect your teen is drinking, lock it up! Talk to them about the risks of drinking, especially if they are driving.

9. Seal the deal. Have your teen sign a contract stating that she promises never to drink and drive. The organization Students Against Destructive Decisions (formerly known as Students Against Drunk Driving), www.saddonline.com provides a free online contract you can download. It may help her pause just the second she needs, to not get behind that wheel.

10. Set the example, be the example. What many parents don’t realize is that they are the leading role model for their teen. If your teen sees you smoking or drinking frequently, what is the message you are sending? At the same time, many adults enjoy a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, and the teen needs to understand that they are adults and there’s a reason the legal drinking age is 21.

A very important piece of advice I share on a daily basis, which I learned the hard way, is that you have to be a parent first, even if it means your teen hates you. The hate is temporary. Your teen’s future, health, and safety depend on your parenting. Friendship will come later—and it does!

If your teen is struggling with substance abuse issue, it is imperative you get them help.  If you have exhausted local resources or they refuse to attend, please consider residential therapy.  Contact us for more information.

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Help for Teens Over 18 Years Old: Young Adults That Are Still Kids

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 03, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

Arging“My 18 year old is out of control and I am at my wits end!  What can I do?” – Anonymous Parent.

18 and 19 year old teens can be the most difficult to address simply because they are considered adults and cannot be forced to get help.

As parents, we have limited to no control.  Practicing “tough love” is easier said than done, many parents cannot let their child reach rock bottom – as parent’s, we see our child suffering – whether it is needing groceries or a roof over their head and it is hard to shut the door on them.  In many situations, a young 18 year old is still in high school and you still feel responsible.

I think this is one of the most important reasons that if you are a parent of a 16-17 year old that is out of control, struggling, defiant, using drugs and alcohol, or other negative behavior –  it is time to look for intervention NOW.

It may not be a residential therapy but at least start with local resources such as therapists that specialize with adolescents and hopefully offer support groups.

It’s unfortunate that in most cases the local therapy is very limited how it can help your teen.  The one hour once a week or even twice, is usually not enough to make permanent changes.  In many cases getting your defiant teen to attend sessions can sometimes cause more friction and frustrations than is already happening.

This might the time to consider outside help such as a Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center.  However parents with the 18-19 year olds have usually missed their opportunity.  They were hoping and praying that at 16 and 17 things would change, but unfortunately, the negative behavior usually escalates.  Don’t get stuck in the blame game – move forward and try to go on to the next steps for young adults.

In the past 15 years I have heard from thousands of parents –  most are hoping to get their child through high school and some will be satisfied with a GED. It is truly a sad society of today’s teens when many believe they can simply drop out of school.

SadTeenStarting as early as 14 years old, many teens are thinking this way and we need to be sure they know the consequences of not getting an education.  Education in today’s world should be our children’s priority (as weel as being kind and caring to others) however with today’s peer pressure and entitlement issues, it seems to have drifted from education to defiance (entitlement) – and not being responsible or accountable.

I think there are many parents that debate whether they should take that desperate measure of residential therapy, it’s a major emotional and financial decision – but in the long run – you need to look at these parents that have 18 and 19 year olds that don’t have that opportunity anymore, the choice will become more clear.

While you have this option, and it is a major decision that needs to be handled with the utmost reality of what will happen if things don’t change.  The closer they are to 18 – the more serious issues can become legally.  If a 17+ year old gets in trouble with the law, in many states they will be tried as an adult.  This can be scary since most of these kids are good kids making very bad choices and don’t deserve to get caught up the system.  As a parent I believe it is our responsible not to be selfish and be open to sending the outside of the home.

It is important not to view this as a failure as a parent, but as a responsible parent that is willing to sacrifice your personal feelings to get your child the help they need.  Keep in mind – this is a very short part of their life that will give them many years of a healthy one.

There are young adults at that are willing to get help or will attend life skills programs when the parents will give them no other options.  Especially if they are facing trouble with the law or homelessness.

If you are interested in young adult programs, please contact us for more information.

 

 

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Teen Dating Violence

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 02, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

teen-dating-tipsTeen relationships can be difficult and sometimes very emotional.  Let’s face, even adults have a hard time getting through a grownup relationships with years of maturity under their belt.

Helping our teenager understand that building bonds with a special friend is about respecting each other and caring for them and their feelings.

Parents, teens, educators need to take the time to learn more about teen dating abuse.

Sexual abuse refers to any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they don’t want to do.

It can also refer to behavior that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including oral sex, rape or restricting access to birth control and condoms.

Some examples of sexual assault and abuse are:

  • Unwanted kissing or touching.
  • Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity.
  • Rape or attempted rape.
  • Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control.
  • Keeping someone from protecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Sexual contact with someone who is very drunk, drugged, unconscious or otherwise unable to give a clear and informed “yes” or “no.”
  • Threatening or pressuring someone into unwanted sexual activity.

Keep in Mind

  • Everyone has the right to decide what they do or don’t want to do sexually. Not all sexual assaults are violent “attacks.”
  • Most victims of sexual assault know the assailant.
  • Both men and women can be victims of sexual abuse.
  • Both men and women can be perpetrators of sexual abuse.
  • Sexual abuse can occur in same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.
  • Sexual abuse can occur between two people who have been sexual with each other before, including people who are married or dating.

TeenLoveWhat to Do

If you have been sexually assaulted, first get to a safe place away from the attacker. You may be scared, angry and confused, but remember the abuse was in no way your fault. You have options. You can:

  • Contact Someone You Trust. Many people feel fear, guilt, anger, shame and/or shock after they have been sexually assaulted. Having someone there to support you as you deal with these emotions can make a big difference. It may be helpful to speak with a counselor, someone at a sexual assault hotline or a support group. Get more tips for building a support system.
  • Report What Happened to the Police. If you do decide to report what happened, you will have a stronger case if you do not alter or destroy any evidence. This means don’t shower, wash your hair or body, comb your hair or change your clothes, even if that is hard to do. If you are nervous about going to the police station, it may help to bring a friend with you. There may also be sexual assault advocates in your area who can assist you and answer your questions.
  • Go to an Emergency Room or Health Clinic. It is very important for you to seek health care as soon as you can after being assaulted. You will be treated for any injuries and offered medications to help prevent pregnancy and STIs.

LoveisRespectSource: Love Is Respect

Loveisrespect’s mission is to engage, educate and empower young people to prevent and end abusive relationships.

If you suspect your teen is in an abusive relationship, seek help immediately.   If they refuse to get help or you find it isn’t benefiting them, contact us to determine if residential therapy would be an option.   Exhausting your local resources is always your first path.

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Teen Anger and Rage: Does It Lead to Violence?

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 01, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

angry-teen-girlWe hear it often.  Your teen can be very angry or full of rage, many times it is targeted at the parent.  Keep in mind they are not stupid.  They know parents love them unconditionally.  No matter how anger they get, you will always love them.  They are venting their rage towards you but many times it is not personal.

The American Psychological Association says that anger is a normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to violent outcomes.

Many teens today have a difficult time keeping their anger under control, as evidenced by the following data:

  • According to SafeYouth.com more than 1 in 3 high school students, both male and female, have been involved in a physical fight. 1 in 9 of those students have been injured badly enough to need medical treatment.
  • The 2002 National Gang Trends Survey (NGTS) stated that there are more than 24,500 different street gangs in the United States alone. More than 772,500 of the members of these gangs are teens and young adults.
  • The 2002 NGTS also showed that teens and young adults involved in gang activity are 60 times more likely to be killed than the rest of the American population.
  • A 2001 report released by the U.S. Department of Justice claims that 20 out of 1000 women ages 16 to 24 will experience a sexual assault while on a date. And that 68% of all rape victims know their attackers.
  • The U.S. Justice report also stated that 1 in 3 teens, both male and female, have experienced some sort of violent behavior from a dating partner.

screaming-teen-boyAnger creates physical changes that both teens and parents need to recognize:  increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, soaring adrenaline levels.  Once these changes occur, along with the thoughts that fuel the anger, the emotion can be hurtful.  Provena Mercy Center cites the following warning signs indicating that your teen’s anger is unhealthy:

  • A frequent loss of temper at the slightest provocation
  • Brooding isolation from family and friends
  • Damage to one’s body or property
  • A need to exact revenge on others
  • Decreased involvement in social activities

If you believe your teen has a problem with anger, you can help him or her develop positive conflict resolution techniques. The University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) explains that teaching children strategies for dealing with their anger can be difficult, because you don’t know when your child will get angry again.  To help, use the time between angry outbursts to discuss your child’s anger, and practice how to deal with it.  The UMHS outlines the following strategies for teaching your child anger management:

  • Practice a substitute behavior. You and your child should develop a substitute behavior to use when he or she is about to get angry.  Some ideas include breathing methods, counting backward or visualizing a peaceful scene or a stop sign.
  • Reward. Sit down with your child and figure out some rewards that he or she can earn by practicing the exercises (on a daily basis), and when he or she uses the exercises when frustrated or angry.  Don’t skip the rewards – they are essential to the success of anger management in children.
  • Give examples. Think of times when you deal effectively with your own stress and point these out, very briefly, to your child.  Also, share your coping strategies with your child as examples of how he/she might handle a similar situation.  It is important for your child to see you successfully deal with your own anger.
  • Encourage using the exercises. When your child starts to get upset, briefly encourage him or her to practice the substitute behavior. Only prompt your child once.  Do not continue to nag him/her about using the exercises.
  • Avoid arguments but do discipline consistently.  Avoid arguing with your child.  Everybody loses when a confrontation occurs. You need to set a good example and deal with your child in a quiet, matter-of-fact manner.  

TeenWritingThe Nemours Foundation reports that teens often require specific coping strategies that are less formal than behavior modification.  Have your teen try the following tips next time he/she begins to lose his/her temper:

  • Listen to music with your headphones on and put your “anger energy” into dancing.
  • Write it down in any form – poetry or journal entries, for example.
  • Draw it – scribble, doodle or sketch your angry feelings using strong colors and lines.
  • Run, play a sport or work out. You’ll be amazed at how physical activity helps work out the anger.
  • Meditate or practice deep breathing. This one works best if you do it regularly, not when you’re actually having a meltdown.  Meditation is a stress management technique that can help you gain self-control and not blow a fuse when you’re mad.
  • Talk about your feelings with someone you trust.  Many times, other feelings – such as fear or sadness — lie beneath the anger.  Talking about these feelings can help.
  • Distract yourself so you can get your mind past what’s bugging you.  Watch television, read or go to the movies instead of stewing for hours about something.

Parents who teach anger-management strategies and encourage non-aggressive conflict-resolution techniques early on may find the teenage years less challenging.  If your child has long-lasting feelings of anger or is unable to adopt coping strategies, seek medical assistance and treatment.

References

  • American Psychological Association
  • National Center for Education Statistics
  • Nemours Foundation
  • Provena Mercy Center
  • University of Michigan Health System
  • U.S. Department of Education

If your teen is struggling with anger and rage to a point that it is destroying your family, don’t hesitate to reach out for local help.  If they refuse to get help or you find it isn’t benefiting them, contact us to determine if residential therapy would be an option.   Exhausting your local resources is always your first path.

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